life update: new semester in Salamanca

16:52

Life Update: New Semester in Salamanca, Spain













Life in Salamanca has settled again having returned from a chilled few days in London with my boyfriend the other week. I felt like I really needed it, I missed British air, over-politeness and most importantly the choice of fry-ups and cafés near our hotel!

With the end of my exams a few weeks ago, second semester classes began again the following week. I would've loved a little half term break between the two, perhaps we are just spoilt too much in the UK? Who knows. It also meant I had no excuse not to crack on with the Year Abroad Research Report, something I'd been putting off beginning for a rather long time. However I am now trundling through the chapters, having reached about 2,500 words so far. It's so true that really it's the reading, researching and deciding an argument that takes the time. Once you sit down to write, it's crazy how quickly you can fly into 1000 word territory.

I must say I wasn't impressed with the second semester choice of modules at the University - too much linguistics (bleugh) and literature (even worse). The reason that I'd actually chosen Southampton was its focus on cultural content and history, and much less old literature. Salamanca in this right is extremely traditional, I should've remembered that the languages faculty has been in use since the 16th century, so I couldn't have expected the most advanced modules choices. I eventually settled on two French-taught modules, to help get that part of my noggin working again and an EU module, economics and policies.

A few perspectives of mine have changed recently. In the first semester I felt super intimidated by Spanish students, who seemed disinterested and unimpressed by the Erasmus students here. I realised though that I'd carried this fear into all my other classes, meaning that I probably came across to other students as cold, distant and perhaps a little snobby. This was a defence mechanism to stop myself caring that none of the Spanish students wanted to get to know me. However, the last few weeks I've found certain students to be friendly and helpful, if you're willing to put in the groundwork and chat to them!

It sounds ridiculously simple and I felt a little silly that I let my fear of looking rubbish in Spanish with my obvious English accent hold me back from making an effort and in turn, genuine Spanish friends. Therefore this semester, I'm pushing myself to get out there make a more concerted effort to befriend the natives, and hopefully as a result improve my Spanish even further.

This doesn't mean that I love all Spanish people here though. Let's not go too far. There are days where I want to shove all the unaware pedestrians out of the way and awake them from their bizarre daze. Who honestly thinks it's a great idea to stand right in the middle of the pavement and have a chat and NOT MOVE for other pedestrians?! And I still despise the customer service here, that will never change unfortunately. They are just so RUDE. The worst I've found is definitely in the supermarkets. They practically throw your items to the other end of the conveyor belt, whilst mumbling if you need a bag, staring at you while you attempt the world's quickest race of packing your bag, paying and leaving all in 5 seconds. I frequently leave stressed out and unnecessarily irritated.

Besides this minor detail, I am happy with the pace of Salamanca life right now. I have joined a lovely little Pilates and Yoga centre, filled with a range of middle aged and young people, and a sympathetic instructor who occasionally translates the obscure phrases such as "massage the lines on your chin" and is extremely patient with a beginner. I've learnt the best time of the day to go anywhere to do work, ie siesta time, when the whole Spanish population leaves to go rest at home. I intend to travel a little more this semester, explore and enjoy the prettiness of the golden city before I leave in June.

Thanks for reading!

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2 comments

  1. Loved reading this post! As a year abroad student too, I can relate to so much of what you're saying. I'm so glad missing British air is a common thing and not just me haha! I thought I was crazy. Oh and German customer service is just awful too, it's like we're causing an inconvenience by buying something!! Hope you have an awesome second semester :D

    Hannah xx

    www.hannahemilylane.com

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    1. It's completely normal honestly I get so homesick sometimes :( it's the most bizarre thing! I don't understand why they don't appreciate the customers they just want them out as quickly as possible that's no way accepted in most places in the UK! xx

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